July 21, 2021
By Dale Wilcox
Joe Biden’s border crisis is at the forefront of American politics right now, but one key move the administration made recently is flying under the radar.
The Biden White House announced last week that it will no longer allow Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to detain pregnant women who attempt to enter the U.S. illegally. On its face, it’s not hard to understand why some people might support this policy. The American people are a compassionate people, and no group of people evokes more compassion than pregnant mothers. The Biden administration seems more than happy to manipulate the compassion of the American people in order to exacerbate the crisis on our southern border.
Because of the popular interpretation of the 14th Amendment, mothers who give birth to their children in the U.S. (even if they arrived in the country illegally) ensure that their children have full American citizenship. The U.S. is unlikely to deport the parents of American citizens, and because of our nation’s chain migration policy, those parents and other relatives are likely to eventually gain citizenship themselves. Given that thousands of pregnant women have been detained at the border in recent years, this new policy could ultimately result in tens of thousands of new American citizens.
While the Biden administration has touted the new policy as “humane,” it could come at a great cost both for American citizens, legal residents, and the pregnant women who have now been further incentivized to make the dangerous trek from Central America to the U.S. border. According to a 2020 article, taxpayers in New Mexico are on the hook for hundreds of dollars every time a migrant requires hospital care.
The physical toll the journey to the southern border takes on pregnant women making the trek can be extremely dangerous, and in some cases, even deadly. Just this year, a Honduran woman had to give birth in freezing temperatures after crossing the Rio Grande into the U.S., and another pregnant Honduran woman required medical care after getting stuck on an 18-foot high wall while attempting to enter the U.S. In 2020, a 19-year-old pregnant Guatemalan woman and her unborn child were killed after she fell while trying to climb border fencing and enter the U.S.
By announcing to the world that they will release pregnant migrants into the U.S. after they cross the border, the Biden administration is incentivizing pregnant women to make the dangerous trek through Central America, and by extension, inviting more of these preventable tragedies. But while this is bad policy, the Biden administration likely realizes that it could be good politics for them.
By deeming this new policy the “humane” thing to do, the Biden administration is setting the stage to demonize their opponents as heartless, racist, or both for pointing out that this will lead to the increasing degradation of our borders. In other words, the Biden administration is essentially using pregnant women and their children as human shields to advance their anti-borders agenda. They know that pregnant women generate near-universal sympathy, and that by highlighting their plight, they can justify their anti-borders policies.
That some pregnant women will perish during the dangerous journey to the U.S., and the others who don’t will ultimately require hospitalization, is apparently of little concern to this administration. It doesn’t matter to the Biden administration that all of this will come at an immense cost to American taxpayers, and further erode our national security. What seems to matter most to Joe Biden and his administration is that they now have a way to justify the malfeasance at the border for their own political benefit.
Biden’s immigration policies have been extremely unpopular, with a recent poll showing that just 33 percent of Americans approve of his handling of the issue. Few things are currently more unpopular than the Biden administration’s anti-borders agenda, but few people evoke more sympathy than pregnant women. The Biden administration hopes that by conflating the two they can silence their detractors and turn attention away from the border crisis they created.
Dale L. Wilcox is executive director and general counsel at the Immigration Reform Law Institute, a public interest law firm working to defend the rights and interests of the American people from the negative effects of mass migration.
Also published at: Dale Wilcox, Biden Is Using Human Shields Will Create More Border Havoc, The American Conservative, July 21, 2021.
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